Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: The Fight With The Winged Bull Of Anu (Part 28); Assyrian

The gods appear above to watch the fight,
And Erech’s “masari” rush in affright
To Izdubar, who sits upon his throne,
Before him fall in speechless terror prone.
A louder roar now echoes from the skies,
And Erech’s Sar without the palace flies.
He sees the monster light upon the plain,
And calls Heabani with the choicest men
Of Erech’s spearsmen armed, who fall in line
Without the gates, led by their Sar divine.

And now the monster rushed on Izdubar,
Who meets it as the god of chase and war.
With whirling sword before the monster’s face,
He rains his blows upon its front of brass
And horns, and drives it from him o’er the plain,
And now with spreading wings it comes again,
With maddened fury; fierce its eyeballs glare.
It rides upon the monarch’s pointed spear;
The scales the point have turned, and broke the haft.
Then as a pouncing hawk when sailing daft,
In swiftest flight o’er him drops from the skies,
But from the gleaming sword it quickly flies.
Three hundred warriors now nearer drew
To the fierce monster, which toward them flew;
Into their midst the monster furious rushed,
And through their solid ranks resistless pushed
To slay Heabani, onward fought and broke
Two lines and through the third, which met the shock
With ringing swords upon his horns and scales.
At last the seer it reaches, him impales
With its sharp horns: but valiant is the seer–
He grasps its crest and fights without a fear.
The monster from his sword now turns to fly;
Heabani grasps its tail, and turns his eye
Towards his king, while scudding o’er the plain.
So quickly has it rushed and fled amain,
That Izdubar its fury could not meet,
But after it he sprang with nimble feet.

Heabani loosed his grasp and stumbling falls,
And to his king approaching, thus he calls:
“My friend, our strongest men are overthrown:
But see! he comes! such strength was never known.
With all my might I held him, but he fled!
We both it can destroy! Strike at its head!”
Like Rimmon now he flies upon the air,
As sceptred Nebo,[1] he his horns doth bear,
That flash with fire along the roaring skies,
[2]Around the Sar and seer he furious flies.
Heabani grasps the plunging horns, nor breaks
His grasp; in vain the monster plunging shakes
His head, and roaring, upward furious rears.
Heabani’s strength the mighty monster fears;
He holds it in his iron grasp, and cries:
“Quick! strike!” Beneath the blows the monster dies;
And Izdubar now turned his furious face
Toward the gods, and on the beast doth place
His foot; he raised his gory sword on high,
And sent his shout defiant to the sky:
“‘Tis thus, ye foes divine! the Sar proclaims
His war against your power, and highest names!
Hurl! hurl! your darts of fire, ye vile “kal-bi!”[3]
My challenge hear! ye cravens of the sky!”

[Footnote 1: “Nebo,” the holder of the sceptre of power; also the god of prophecy.]–[Footnote 2: “Around” (“tarka”), or it may mean “between.”]–[Footnote 3: “Kal-bi,” dogs.]

SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature; Alcove II, Tablet V (1901): Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.

Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: The Curse Of Ishtar (Part 29); Assyrian

Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: Ishtar Complains To Anu, King Of Heaven, (Part 27)


World War Two: Marines Surrender; China -Guam December 1941

Despite American fears, the Japanese had no intention of landing on Hawaii. They had gobbled up enough of the Pacific and Southeast Asia to choke a python and would need months to digest their kill.

U.S. Marines met the Japanese face to face on the ground only in four places: China, Wake Guam and the Philippines. The encounters in China and on Guam were quickly finished; Wake and the Philippines took longer.

That morning (December 8 in China) 2nd Lieutenant Richard M. Huizenga was supervising the loading of Marine Corps supplies aboard President Harrison on the docks of Chinwangtao, northeast of Tientsin. The raid on Pearl Harbor was already over when a truck brought him word of the attack. The lieutenant rushed back to his men at the railhead. He found the 21 marines surrounded by Japanese soldiers. Chief Marine Gunner William A. Lee, who had won three Navy Crosses in Nicaragua, was organizing a strong point and had broken out two machine guns and Thompson submachine guns and BAR’s. Their situation was hopeless but they were ready to fight. The Japanese captain allowed 2nd Lieutenant Huizenga to communicate to Major Luther A. Brown at Tientsin, who ordered him not to resist.

In Both Tientsin and Peking, the Japanese surrounded the Marine Barracks and demanded that the Marines surrender. Colonel William W. Ashurst, the senior Marine officer at the U.S. Embassy, was given to till noon to decide whether to fight or surrender. After communicating with the commander of the U. S. Asiatic Fleet in Manila and with Major Brown at Tientsin, Colonel Ashurst ordered his men, fewer than 200 Marines to lay down their arms. He hoped that as embassy guards they would be repatriated with the diplomatic personnel. But it was not to be. The Marines were imprisoned in Shanghai.


On the island of Guam, the garrison of 153 Marines was as helpless as the handful of Marines in China. The Inland lay among the Japanese held Mariana Islands and had been neutralized by the 12 disarmament treaty. The 1941 American war plan, RAINBOW 5, conceded Guam’s capture.

In addition to the Marines, Guam had 271 Navy personnel and a native force of 326 armed with obsolete rifle. Lieutenant Colonel William K. McNulty commanded the Marines. 122 of them were at Sumay barracks on the south side of Apra Harbor; the rest were stationed in villages around the island.

At 0545 December 8, Guam time, the garrison commander and governor, Captain George J. McMillin, USN, was informed of the attack on Pearl harbor. At 0827, Japanese bombers from Saipan hit. They immediately sank the minesweeper Penguin in Apra harbor. Her guns were Guam’s only weapons larger than .30 caliber machine guns. Plames bombed and strafed the island the rest of that day and the next. There was no effective defense.

At 0400 on December 10, 400 Japanese sailors landed at Dungeas Beach, just north of the town of Agaña on Guam’s west coast. And 5,500 soldiers landed at Tumon Bay north of of the beach and on the southwest coast. When the first enemy sailors reached Agaña, a detachment of native troops commanded by Marine 1st Lieutenant Charles S. Todd met them in the plaza with rifle and machine gun fire. They pushed the invaders back twice and lost 17 men, but they could not hold out for long.

Captain McMillin saw that the situation was futile. Shortly after 0600, he surrendered to the Japanese naval commander. He sent orders to the Marines at Sumay not to resist, but scattered fighting continued the rest of the day as the Japanese spread over the island. Nineteen of the garrison were killed and 42 wounded, including foru Marines killed and 12 wounded. The surviving Americans were shipped to prison camps in Japan. It would be two and a half years before the Marines returned to Guam.

SOURCE: U.S. Marine Corps Story; By J. Robert Moskin

World War Two: Philippines (Prewar Part 1-1; 2); Enter MacArthur

World War Two: Fall of Wake Island, 11-23 December 1941

World War Two: Retaking Guam (4-15); Plans and Preparations

Today’s Funny: Teen Christian Kit

Teen Christian Kit

New! From Dead Jewellyn, popular mass marketed Christian author and servant of the Lord, Michael Hosannah Divine, the man who brought you such great books as To Pound a Leather Bible and To Carry a Golden Cross brings you The Teen Christian Kit.

You don’t have to wake up early on Sunday and go to boring church with all of those old folks anymore! You don’t have to spend hours slogging through the (YAWN)Bible trying to understand all of those “thees,” “thous,” and “begets.” Now, in just minutes, you can be your VERY OWN POPE!

Inside the attractive cardboard box featuring four mod Christian kids just like you (one of the girls is even wearing JEANS) you will find:

  • A beautifully pressure molded statue of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ made from genuine plastic!
  • A five pound gold (painted) cross for you to wear so there will be no doubt that you are a GROOVY TEEN CHRISTIAN!
  • A vial of instant Holy Water (just add water)
  • A selection of Chick tracts for you to use to convince non believers that, if they don’t accept the unconditional and eternal boundless love of our Lord, they will burn alive in eternal agony while we all laugh at them!

Throw away that Bible, you get Michael Hosannah Divine’s 15 page graphic novel Tune In and Turn On to Jesus! Everyone knows that, even though God is the author and creator of the Universe, he needs bread, man, so you get a genuine collection plate with the words “Give Until After It Hurts” imprinted right on it.

You get everything you need to gather your friends around and start YOUR OWN CHURCH and it’s all contained in a beautiful naugahyde case suitable for beating unbelievers over the head!

The Teen Christian Kit is available at Waldenbooks, Quik Trip, and the Baptist Bookstore. While you are there, look for other fine titles from your groovy happening friends at DEAD JEWELLYN!

— David (Witchboy) Tales1n


Turok’s Cabana

Today’s Extra: 5 Cozy Ideas for Winter Self Care

5 Cozy Ideas for Winter Self Care

Winter is such a love-it-or-hate-it time of year. For some of us, winter is snowflakes, hot chocolate and cable-knit sweaters. For others, it’s dry skin, cold feet and getting up early to scrape the windshield.

Whether you’re looking forward to autumn leaves turning to frost-adorned branches or counting down the days till spring, it’s impossible to argue that winter doesn’t come with its own set of challenges. Dark winters can take their toll, physically, mentally and emotionally. Fortunately, we have some whole-body self care ideas that will help see you through.


Winter might be the hardest time of year to get moving, but it’s as vital as ever. If your body starts to feel heavy and tired from a lack of exercise, try engaging in a stretching or yoga practice on a daily basis.


Winter is a wonderful opportunity to retreat inward and enter “rest and reflect” mode. If the sun going down at 5 p.m. makes you want to bundle up in pajamas and enjoy a bowl of soup on the couch, you’re not the only one. Winter was made for cozy moments like this!


Cold temperatures and dry winter air have the tendency to suck the moisture right out of our skin. Dry brushing can help remedy this by boosting circulation, stimulating the lymphatic system and removing dead skin. Follow with a coconut oil massage. It’ll feel delicious!


Whether or not you enjoy the holidays, there is something truly special about celebrating the changing seasons. Start by making your home smell more festive ━ light a beeswax candle, warm cinnamon sticks on the stove ━ or turning on a seasonal playlist.


Feel chilled to your bones? Indulge in a nourishing hot drink. We especially love this Hormone-Balancing Hot Chocolate and this Turmeric Chai Latte. Bonus points if you make one for a friend and go for a long walk outside.



Moon Calendar for December 26 & December 27

Moon Phase Calendar

Wednesday – 26th December 2018

Current Moon Phase: Waning Gibbous

Moon is currently in the Sign of Virgo

Moon in Virgo:

Your feeling of safety is now related to order and clarity, even in emotions. You may have the need to organise everything chaotic and disorganized. Try being more tolerant and accept imperfections of life. It is better to trust life and let it run its own way, not everything must be according to our expectations

Organs influenced by Virgo Moon Sign:

Organs: Pancreas, small intestine, cecum, colon, digestive tract, duodenum, rectum, sense organs: eyes and ears.

These organs are now more sensitive so provide them with extra car

Surgical operations:

Surgical operations are recommended during the Waning Moon.
However, avoid surgeries of organs under the influence of the Moon Sign.

Moon Phase Calendar

Thursday – 27th December 2018

Current Moon Phase: Waning Gibbous

Moon is currently in the Sign of Virgo
Moon in Virgo:

Your feeling of safety is now related to order and clarity, even in emotions. You may have the need to organise everything chaotic and disorganized. Try being more tolerant and accept imperfections of life. It is better to trust life and let it run its own way, not everything must be according to our expectations.

Organs influenced by Virgo Moon Sign:

Organs: Pancreas, small intestine, cecum, colon, digestive tract, duodenum, rectum, sense organs: eyes and ears.

These organs are now more sensitive so provide them with extra care.

Surgical operations:

Surgical operations are recommended during the Waning Moon.
However, avoid surgeries of organs under the influence of the Moon Sign.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac: NEW YEAR’S DAY 2019



By The Old Farmer’s Almanac
New Year’s Day is celebrated on January 1, marking the start of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  Learn about the many ways people around the world ring in the New Year. Maybe you’ll discover some new ideas!

In 2019, New Year’s Eve falls on a Monday and New Year’s Day falls on a Tuesday.


Year New Year’s Day
2018 Monday, January 1
2019 Tuesday, January 1
2020 Wednesday, January 1

January 1 is a public holiday in the United States and Canada (as well as many countries around the world).

Interestingly, the month of “January” was named for the ancient Roman god Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings. Janus looks simultaneously to the future and the past, a fitting symbol for this first day of the year. Each year, on the first day of the month of January, Romans exchanged presents in Janus’ honor.

Janus am I; oldest of potentates;
Forward I look, and backward, and below
I count, as god of avenues and gates,
The years that through my portals come and go.

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (1807–82)



A common tradition is to take time to reflect and make New Year’s resolutions. A fresh calendar encourages us to fill in the blanks with ambitious projects for home and personal improvement.

In Scotland, the custom of first-footing is an important part of the celebration of Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve Day. This practice holds that the first foot to cross a threshold after midnight will predict the next year’s fortune. Today, there is a custom of visiting good friends and family after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

There are even some traditional New Year’s foods—many associated with good luck. One southern American recipe is Good Luck Hoppin’ John. A Scottish tradition is Hogmanay Shortbread.

Champagne and other holiday drink recipes are also served in celebration.


The evening before New Year’s Day—New Year’s Eve—is when most people celebrate the turning of the year! As the clock counts down, people may celebrate the last hours at a party or watch a televised countdown. When the clock strikes midnight, the custom is to exchange hugs and kisses and wish each other a “Happy New Year!”

Many people ring in the New Year by singing the Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne.” Robert Burns is credited with the two original stanzas, which most New Year revelers know (if that!):

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne


To help you ring in the New Year or write a special New Year’s greeting, we present some more verse from our archives.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

–Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92)

Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer.

–Sir Walter Scott

I hear you, blithe new year,
Ring out your laughter.

–Abba Goold Woolson

Hark! The Old Year is gone!
And the young New Year is coming!

–Bryan Waller Procter

Just listen to the merry New Year’s bells!
All hearts rejoice and catch the cheerful tone.

M. A. Baines


Happy New Year to all of our Almanac readers! We hope your new year is “useful, with a pleasant degree of humor.”

The Old Farmer’s Almanac: WHAT IS BOXING DAY?



By The Old Farmer’s Almanac
What is Boxing Day? Why is it called Boxing Day? And what, if anything, does boxing have to do with it? Boxing Day, like a box, has many points of interest. Here is the short history of Boxing Day, some recipes, and more.


Boxing Day occurs on December 26 (the day after Christmas). However, if Christmas falls on a Saturday, Boxing Day takes place on the following Monday.

This is a public holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries. Most offices are closed.

Year Boxing Day
2018 Wednesday, December 26
2019 Thursday, December 26
2020 Saturday, December 26


Boxing Day is a centuries’ old gift-giving day that originated in Britain. Yes, boxes are a big part of Boxing Day traditions!

It was a custom on that day for tradesmen to collect their “Christmas boxes,” gifts of money or goods in return for reliable service all year. Do you have any trades people who have been especially helpful this year—your postman, fix-it guy, city doorman?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the custom arose because servants, who would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, were allowed to visit their families the next day and employers would give them boxes to take home containing gifts, bonuses and, sometimes, leftover food.

One of the earliest records of these box gifts dates from 1663. In an entry in his diary, English Parliamentarian Samuel Pepys writes that he sent a coach and messenger to his shoemaker to deliver “something to the boys’ box against Christmas” in addition to funds to cover his bill.

Later, during the Victorian era (1837–1901, the period of Queen Victoria’s reign), Boxing Day evolved. It became an occasion for church parishioners to deposit donations into a box that was put out for the purpose by the clergyman. The money in the boxes was giving to the poor.


Boxing Day in Ireland is also known as St. Stephen’s Day. But did you know that there are two saints named Stephen? One St. Stephen was stoned to death shortly after Christ’s crucifixion (and is considered the first Christian martyr). The other St. Stephen practiced mission work in Sweden and had a fondness for animals—especially horses. (This may be the reason that horse racing is popular on this day.)

He’s also named in the Christmas song Good King Wenceslas. Its first line describes the king’s activities on St. Stephen’s day: “Good King Wenceslas looked out/on the feast of Stephen.” Written by John Mason Neale and first published in 1853, the lyrics celebrate the spirit of Boxing Day—generosity—as it describes King Wenceslas watching a poor man “gath’ring winter fuel.” The king then brings the peasant food and logs for his fire.


Boxing Day is spent with family and friends with lots of food and fun.

Because it is the cook’s day off (traditionally speaking), mostly leftovers are on the menu. Food on Boxing Day usually includes left over turkey from the day before. This can be eaten in sandwiches or as a meal with vegetables, roast potatoes and all the trimmings.

Some people like to have cold ham in a buffet style so the cook can also have a rest and spend time with the family.

If you’d like to make something special, here are more classic Boxing Day recipes:


Sporting events have taken place on Boxing Day for centuries. However, pugilism—fighting with gloved fists (boxing!)—is not normally one of them. Foxhunting was once a tradition among wealthy British on Boxing Day. In 2004, however, laws prohibited hunting with foxes and allowed hunts only in modified form.

Today’s more popular Boxing Day sporting activities include watching horse races and football matches against local rivals. Of course, another “sport” is the post-Christmas shopping as folks do their exchanges and returns and look for the best deals.

Charity and giving to the poorer among us is still a big part of Boxing Day.  Some folks participate in charity runs. The Boxing Day Dip is another charity event where people in fancy dress swim in the sea on Boxing Day. Can you imagine swimming in the frigid English Channel?


  • On this day in 1776, George Washington crossed the ice-clogged Delaware River to attack Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey, at dawn.
  • On this day in 1963, two songs by The Beatles—”I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There”—were released in the United States.
  • Weather lore says, “If wind blows much on St. Stephen’s Day [December 26], the grape will be bad in the next year.”


The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Today’s Holiday for Dec. 26: Boxing Day

Boxing Day

The boxing which takes place on Boxing Day has nothing to do with the prize-fighting ring. Christmas boxing originated in England, where the word “boxing” refers to the distribution of small gifts of money. Boxing Day, which fallson December 26, is a holiday in England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas (see Jonkonnu), and other nations with past or present ties to the United Kingdom.

Origins and Development

Some writers believe that boxing can be traced back to the Middle Ages. They note that parish priests of that era customarily opened up the church alms box on December 26, St. Stephen’s Day. Then the priests distributed the coinsit contained to the needy. Perhaps this custom attached itself to St. Stephen’s Day because the saint’s role in the Christian community of which he was a member was to ensure the fair distribution of goods. In any case, this practice gave rise to the use of the term “box” to denote a small gift of money or a gratuity. In Scotland these tips were called“hand sels” and were given on Handsel Monday, that is, the first Monday of the new year.

By the early seventeenth century, the Church’s St. Stephen’s Day tradition had inspired working people to adopt thecustom of saving whatever tips they had been given throughout the year in clay boxes which they broke open onDecember 26. By the late seventeenth century they began to solicit tips from all those who had enjoyed their servicesduring the year. They collected the last of these “boxes” on December 26, after which they broke open thesecontainers and used the money to buy Christmas treats. In the nineteenth century many bought tickets to pantomimeshows, which in those days usually opened on December 26. By the nineteenth century the custom of boxing had socolored the character of the day that many people began refer to December 26 as Boxing Day rather than St.Stephen’s Day. Parliament declared Boxing Day a public holiday in 1871.


By the eighteenth century middle- and upper-middle-class people were complaining about the increasing numbers oftradesmen who petitioned them for Christmas boxes. By mid-century some families were paying up to thirty pounds inthese annual tips. Naturally, one’s employees and domestic servants received some extra financial consideration atChristmas time. In addition to one’s own workers, however, a small horde of neighborhood service providers might turnup at one’s door on the twenty-sixth of December asking for a Christmas box. These included dustmen, lamplighters,postmen, errand-runners, watchmen, bell ringers, chimneysweeps, sextons (church custodians), turncocks (men whomaintained the water pipes), and others. What’s more, shop assistants, tradesmen, and their apprentices oftenexpected a Christmas box from their customers. In 1710, English author Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) wrote, “By theLord Harry, I shall be undone here with Christmas boxes. The rogues of the coffee-house have raised their tax, everyone giving a crown, and I gave mine for shame, besides a great many halfcrowns to great men’s porters” (Hutton,1996, 23).


At one point, the citizens of Buckinghamshire, England, raised the practice of boxing to new heights. Residents ofsome villages in the region claimed the right to a free meal at the local rectory on St. Stephen’s Day. Since the rectorshad to pay for the meal out of their own pockets, they naturally began to resist this custom, know as “Stephening.” It istold that one year a rector from the village of Drayton Beauchamp locked himself in the rectory on December 26 andrefused to let the housekeeper answer the many knocks at the door. In this manner he thought to escape doling outthe free meal of bread, cheese, and ale demanded by the town’s residents. When the townspeople realized what wasgoing on, however, they broke into the building and helped themselves to a meal that completely emptied his larders.In 1834 the Charity Commission, finding no legal or traditional entitlement to this yearly looting, put an end to thecustom.


By the late nineteenth century Christmas boxing began to diminish. This decline continued into the twentieth century,and, slowly, the Christmas box disappeared from the ranks of English seasonal customs. The English still give a fewtips at Christmas time, but they are no longer specifically associated with Boxing Day. In fact, some people now thinkof Boxing Day as the day to throw out the boxes their Christmas gifts came in.

Further Reading

Chambers, Robert. “December 26 – Christmas-Boxes.” In his The Book ofDaysVolume 2. 1862-64. Reprint. Detroit,Mich.: Omnigraphics, 1990. Hadfield, Miles, and John Hadfield. The Twelve Days of ChristmasBoston, Mass.: Little,Brown and Company, 1961. Hole, Christina. British Folk CustomsLondon, England: Hutchinson and Company, 1976.Hutton, Ronald. The Stations of the Sun. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1996. MacDonald, Margaret Read,ed. The Folklore of World HolidaysDetroit, Mich.: Gale Research, 1992. Muir, Frank. Christmas Customs andTraditionsNew York: Taplinger, 1977. Weiser, Francis X. Handbook of Christian Feasts and CustomsNew York:Harcourt, Brace and World, 1952.

This Day In History for Dec. 26: Dakota War of 1862

Dakota War of 1862


The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux UprisingDakota Uprising, the Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 or Little Crow’s War, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of Dakota (also known as the eastern ‘Sioux’). It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota, four years after its admission as a state. Throughout the late 1850s in the lead-up to the war, treaty violations by the United States and late or unfair annuity payments by Indian agents caused increasing hunger and hardship among the Dakota. During the war, the Dakota made extensive attacks on hundreds of settlers and immigrants, which resulted in settler deaths, and caused many to flee the area. Intense desire for immediate revenge ended with soldiers capturing hundreds of Dakota men and interning their families. A military tribunal quickly tried the men, sentencing 303 to death for their crimes. President Lincoln would later commute the sentence of 264 of them. The mass hanging of 38 Dakota men was conducted on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota; it was the largest mass execution in United States history.

Traders with the Dakota previously had demanded that the government give the annuity payments directly to them (introducing the possibility of unfair dealing between the agents and the traders to the exclusion of the Dakota). In mid-1862, the Dakota demanded the annuities directly from their agent, Thomas J. Galbraith. The traders refused to provide any more supplies on credit under those conditions, and negotiations reached an impasse.[3]

On August 17, 1862, one young Dakota with a hunting party of three others killed five settlers while on a hunting expedition. That night a council of Dakota decided to attack settlements throughout the Minnesota River valley to try to drive whites out of the area. There has never been an official report on the number of settlers killed, although in President Abraham Lincoln’s second annual address, he said that no fewer than 800 men, women, and children had died.

Over the next several months, continued battles of the Dakota against settlers and later, the United States Army, ended with the surrender of most of the Dakota bands.[4] By late December 1862, US soldiers had taken captive more than a thousand Dakota, including women, children and elderly men in addition to warriors, who were interned in jails in Minnesota. After trials and sentencing by a military court, 38 Dakota men were hanged on December 26, 1862 in Mankatoin the largest one-day mass execution in American history. In April 1863, the rest of the Dakota were expelled from Minnesota to Nebraska and South Dakota. The United States Congress abolished their reservations. Additionally, the Ho-Chunk people living on reservation lands near Mankato were expelled from Minnesota as a result of the war.

Previous treaties

The United States and Dakota leaders negotiated the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux[5] on July 23, 1851, and Treaty of Mendota on August 5, 1851, by which the Dakota ceded large tracts of land in Minnesota Territory to the U.S. in exchange for promises of money and goods. From that time on, the Dakota were to live on a 20-mile (32  km) wide Indian reservation centered on a 150 mile (240 km) stretch of the upper Minnesota River.

However, the United States Senate deleted Article 3 of each treaty, which set out reservations, during the ratification process. Much of the promised compensation never arrived, was lost, or was effectively stolen due to corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (then called the Office of Indian Affairs). Also, annuity payments guaranteed to the Dakota often were provided directly to traders instead (to pay off debts the Dakota incurred to the traders).

Encroachments on Dakota lands

When Minnesota became a state on May 11, 1858, representatives of several Dakota bands led by Little Crow traveled to Washington, D.C., to negotiate about enforcing existing treaties. The northern half of the reservation along the Minnesota River was lost, and rights to the quarry at Pipestone, Minnesota, were also taken from the Dakota. This was a major blow to the standing of Little Crow in the Dakota community.

The land was divided into townships and plots for settlement. Logging and agriculture on these plots eliminated surrounding forests and prairies, which interrupted the Dakota’s annual cycle of farming, hunting, fishing and gathering wild rice. Hunting by settlers dramatically reduced wild game, such as bison, elk, whitetail deer and bear. Not only did this decrease the meat available for the Dakota in southern and western Minnesota, but it directly reduced their ability to sell furs to traders for additional supplies.

Although payments were guaranteed, the US government was often behind or failed to pay because of Federal preoccupation with the American Civil War.[6] Most land in the river valley was not arable, and hunting could no longer support the Dakota community. The Dakota became increasingly discontented over their losses: land, non-payment of annuities, past broken treaties, plus food shortages and famine following crop failure. Tensions increased through the summer of 1862.


On August 4, 1862, representatives of the northern Sissetowan and Wahpeton Dakota bands met at the Upper Sioux Agency in the northwestern part of the reservation and successfully negotiated to obtain food. When two other bands of the Dakota, the southern Mdewakanton and the Wahpekute, turned to the Lower Sioux Agency for supplies on August 15, 1862, they were rejected. Indian Agent (and Minnesota State Senator) Thomas Galbraith managed the area and would not distribute food to these bands without payment.

At a meeting of the Dakota, the U.S. government and local traders, the Dakota representatives asked the representative of the government traders, Andrew Jackson Myrick, to sell them food on credit. His response was said to be, “So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry let them eat grass or their own dung.”[7] But the context of Myrick’s comment at the time, early August 1862, is historically unclear.[8] Another version is that Myrick was referring to the Indian women who were already combing the floor of the fort’s stables for any unprocessed oats to then feed to their starving children along with a little grass.[9]

The effect of Myrick’s statement on Little Crow and his band was clear however. In a letter to General Sibley, Little Crow said it was a major reason for commencing war: “Dear Sir – For what reason we have commenced this war I will tell you. it is on account of Maj. Galbrait [sic] we made a treaty with the Government a big for what little we do get and then cant get it till our children was dieing with hunger – it is with the traders that commence Mr A[ndrew] J Myrick told the Indians that they would eat grass or their own dung.”[10]


Early fighting

On August 16, 1862, the treaty payments to the Dakota arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota, and were brought to Fort Ridgely the next day. They arrived too late to prevent violence. On August 17, 1862, four young Dakota men were on a hunting trip in Acton Township, Minnesota, during which one stole eggs and then killed five white settlers.[11] Soon after, a Dakota war council was convened, their leader, Little Crow, agreed to continue attacks on the American settlements to try to drive out the whites. It should be noted that many of the Dakota people, in particular Sisseton Wahpeton tribes, wanted no part in the attacks.[12][13] As a result of a majority of the 4,000 members of the Northern tribes being opposed to the war, their bands did not participate in the early killings.[14] Historian Mary Wingerd has stated that it is “a complete myth that all the Dakota people went to war against the United States” and that it was rather “a faction that went on the offensive”.[13]

On August 18, 1862, Little Crow led a group that attacked the Lower Sioux (or Redwood) Agency. Andrew Myrick was among the first who were killed.[citation needed] He was discovered trying to escape through a second-floor window of a building at the agency. Myrick’s body later was found with grass stuffed into his mouth. The warriors burned the buildings at the Lower Sioux Agency, giving enough time for settlers to escape across the river at Redwood Ferry. Minnesota militia forces and B Company of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, sent to quell the uprising, were defeated at the Battle of Redwood Ferry. Twenty-four soldiers, including the party’s commander (Captain John Marsh), were killed in the battle.[15] Throughout the day, Dakota war parties swept the Minnesota River Valley and near vicinity, killing many settlers. Numerous settlements including the townships of Milford, Leavenworth and Sacred Heart, were surrounded and burned and their populations nearly exterminated.

Early Dakota offensives

Confident with their initial success, the Dakota continued their offensive and attacked the settlement of New Ulm, Minnesota, on August 19, 1862, and again on August 23, 1862. Dakota warriors had initially decided not to attack the heavily defended Fort Ridgely along the river, and turned toward the town, killing settlers along the way. By the time New Ulm was attacked, residents had organized defenses in the town center and were able to keep the Dakota at bay during the brief siege. Dakota warriors penetrated parts of the defenses and burned much of the town.[16] By that evening, a thunderstorm dampened the warfare, preventing further Dakota attacks.

Regular soldiers and militia from nearby towns (including two companies of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. then stationed at Fort Ridgely) reinforced New Ulm. Residents continued to build barricades around the town.

The Dakota attacked Fort Ridgely on August 20 and 22, 1862.[17][18] Although the Dakota were not able to take the fort, they ambushed a relief party from the fort to New Ulm on August 21. The defense at the Battle of Fort Ridgely further limited the ability of the American forces to aid outlying settlements. The Dakota raided farms and small settlements throughout south central Minnesota and what was then eastern Dakota Territory.

Minnesota militia counterattacks resulted in a major defeat of American forces at the Battle of Birch Coulee on September 2, 1862. The battle began when the Dakota attacked a detachment of 150 American soldiers at Birch Coulee, 16 miles (26 km) from Fort Ridgely. The detachment had been sent out to find survivors, bury American dead and report on the location of Dakota fighters. A three-hour firefight began with an early morning assault. Thirteen soldiers were killed and 47 were wounded, while only two Dakota were killed. A column of 240 soldiers from Fort Ridgely relieved the detachment at Birch Coulee the same afternoon.

Attacks in northern Minnesota

Farther north, the Dakota attacked several unfortified stagecoach stops and river crossings along the Red River Trails, a settled trade route between Fort Garry (now Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Saint Paul, Minnesota, in the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota and eastern Dakota Territory. Many settlers and employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company and other local enterprises in this sparsely populated country took refuge in Fort Abercrombie, located in a bend of the Red River of the North about 25 miles (40 km) south of present-day Fargo, North Dakota. Between late August and late September, the Dakota launched several attacks on Fort Abercrombie; all were repelled by its defenders.

In the meantime, steamboat and flatboat trade on the Red River came to a halt. Mail carriers, stage drivers and military couriers were killed while attempting to reach settlements such as Pembina, North Dakota, Fort Garry, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and Fort Snelling. Eventually, the garrison at Fort Abercrombie was relieved by a U.S. Army company from Fort Snelling, and the civilian refugees were removed to St. Cloud.

Army reinforcements

Due to the demands of the American Civil War, the region’s representatives had to repeatedly appeal for aid before President Abraham Lincoln formed the Department of the Northwest on September 6, 1862, and appointed General John Pope to command it with orders to quell the violence. He led troops from the 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment and 4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The 9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment and 10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which were still being constituted, had troops dispatched to the front as soon as companies were formed.[19][20]Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey also enlisted the help of Colonel Henry Hastings Sibley (the previous governor) to aid in the effort.

After the arrival of a larger army force, the final large-scale fighting took place at the Battle of Wood Lake on September 23, 1862. According to the official report of Lieutenant Colonel William R. Marshall of the 7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, elements of the 7th Minnesota and the 6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment (and a six-pounder cannon) were deployed equally in dugouts and in a skirmish line. After brief fighting, the forces in the skirmish line charged against the Dakota (then in a ravine) and defeated them overwhelmingly.

Among the Citizen Soldier units in Sibley’s expedition:

  • Captain Joseph F. Bean’s Company “The Eureka Squad”
  • Captain David D. Lloyd’s Company
  • Captain Calvin Potter’s Company of Mounted Men
  • Captain Mark Hendrick’s Battery of Light Artillery
  • 1st Lieutenant Christopher Hansen’s Company “Cedar Valley Rangers” of the 5th Iowa State Militia, Mitchell County, Iowa
  • elements of the 5th & 6th Iowa State Militia

Iowa Northern Border Brigade

In Iowa, alarm over the Santee attacks led to the construction of a line of forts from Sioux City to Iowa Lake. The region had already been militarized because of the Spirit Lake Massacre in 1857. After the 1862 conflict began, the Iowa Legislature authorized “…not less than 500 mounted men from the frontier counties at the earliest possible moment, and to be stationed where most needed,” though this number was soon reduced. Although no fighting took place in Iowa, the Dakota uprising led to the rapid expulsion of the few remaining unassimilated Indians.[21][22]

Surrender of the Dakota

Most Dakota fighters surrendered shortly after the Battle of Wood Lake at Camp Release on September 26, 1862. The place was so named because it was the site where the Dakota released 269 American captives to the troops commanded by Colonel Sibley. The captives included 162 “mixed-bloods” (mixed-race, some likely descendants of Dakota women who were mistakenly counted as captives) and 107 whites, mostly women and children. Most of the warriors were imprisoned before Sibley arrived at Camp Release.[23]:249 The surrendered Dakota warriors were held until military trials took place in November 1862. Of the 498 trials, 300 were sentenced to death, though the president commuted all but 38.[24]

Little Crow was forced to retreat sometime in September 1862. He stayed briefly in Canada but soon returned to the Minnesota area. He was killed on July 3, 1863, near Hutchinson, Minnesota, while gathering raspberries with his teenage son. The pair had wandered onto the land of white settler Nathan Lamson, who shot at them to collect bounties. Once it was discovered that the body was of Little Crow, his skull and scalp were put on display in St. Paul, Minnesota. The city held the trophies until 1971, when it returned the remains to Little Crow’s grandson. For killing Little Crow, the state granted Lamson an additional $500 bounty. For his part in the warfare, Little Crow’s son was sentenced to death by a military tribunal, a sentence commuted to a prison term.


In early December, 303 Sioux prisoners were convicted of murder and rape by military tribunals and sentenced to death. Some trials lasted less than 5 minutes. No one explained the proceedings to the defendants, nor were the Sioux represented by defense attorneys. President Lincoln personally reviewed the trial records to distinguish between those who had engaged in warfare against the U.S., versus those who had committed crimes of rape and murder against civilians.

Henry Whipple, the Episcopal bishop of Minnesota and a reformer of U.S. Indian policy, responded by publishing an open letter. He also went to Washington DC in the fall of 1862 to urge Lincoln to proceed with leniency.[25] On the other hand, General Pope and Minnesota Senator Morton S. Wilkinson warned Lincoln that the white population opposed leniency. Governor Ramsey warned Lincoln that, unless all 303 Sioux were executed, “[P]rivate revenge would on all this border take the place of official judgment on these Indians.”[26] In the end, Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 264 prisoners, but he allowed the execution of 39 men.

Even partial clemency resulted in protests from Minnesota, which persisted until the Secretary of the Interior offered white Minnesotans “reasonable compensation for the depredations committed.” Republicans did not fare as well in Minnesota in the 1864 election as they had before. Ramsey (by then a senator) informed Lincoln that more hangings would have resulted in a larger electoral majority. The President reportedly replied, “I could not afford to hang men for votes.”[27]


One of the 39 condemned prisoners was granted a reprieve.[23]:252–259[28] The Army executed the 38 remaining prisoners by hanging on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota. It remains the largest mass execution in American history.

The mass execution was performed publicly on a single scaffold platform. After regimental surgeons pronounced the prisoners dead, they were buried en masse in a trench in the sand of the riverbank. Before they were buried, an unknown person nicknamed “Dr. Sheardown” possibly removed some of the prisoners’ skin.[29] Small boxes purportedly containing the skin later were sold in Mankato.

At least two Sioux leaders, Little Six and Medicine Bottle, escaped to Canada. They were captured, drugged, and returned to the United States. They were hanged at Fort Snelling in 1865.[30]

Medical aftermath

Because of the high demand for cadavers for anatomical study, several doctors wanted to obtain the bodies after the execution. The grave was reopened in the night and the bodies were distributed among the doctors, a practice common in the era. William Worrall Mayo received the body of Maȟpiya Akan Nažiŋ (Stands on Clouds), also known as “Cut Nose”.

Mayo brought the body of Maȟpiya Akan Nažiŋ to Le Sueur, Minnesota, where he dissected it in the presence of medical colleagues.[31]:77–78 Afterward, he had the skeleton cleaned, dried and varnished. Mayo kept it in an iron kettle in his home office. His sons received their first lessons in osteology based on this skeleton.[31]:167 In the late 20th century, the identifiable remains of Maȟpiya Akan Nažiŋ and other Indians were returned by the Mayo Clinic to a Dakota tribe for reburial per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.[32][full citation needed]


The remaining convicted Dakota were held in prison that winter. The following spring they were transferred to Camp McClellan in Davenport, Iowa, where they were imprisoned for almost four years.[33] By the time of their release, one-third of the prisoners had died of disease. The survivors were sent with their families to Nebraska. Their families had already been expelled from Minnesota.

Pike Island internment

During this time, more than 1600 Dakota women, children and old men were held in an internment camp on Pike Island, near Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Living conditions and sanitation were poor, and infectious disease struck the camp, killing more than three hundred.[34] In April 1863, the U.S. Congress abolished the reservation, declared all previous treaties with the Dakota null and void, and undertook proceedings to expel the Dakota people entirely from Minnesota. To this end, a bounty of $25 per scalp was placed on any Dakota found free within the boundaries of the state.[35] The only exception to this legislation applied to 208 Mdewakanton, who had remained neutral or assisted white settlers in the conflict.

In May 1863, Dakota survivors were forced aboard steamboats and relocated to the Crow Creek Reservation, in the southeastern Dakota Territory, a place stricken by drought at the time. Many of the survivors of Crow Creek moved three years later to the Niobrara Reservation in Nebraska.[36][37]

Firsthand accounts

There are numerous firsthand accounts by European Americans of the wars and raids. For example, the compilation by Charles Bryant, titled Indian Massacre in Minnesota, included these graphic descriptions of events, taken from an interview with Justina Krieger:

Mr. Massipost had two daughters, young ladies, intelligent and accomplished. These the savages murdered most brutally. The head of one of them was afterward found, severed from the body, attached to a fish-hook, and hung upon a nail. His son, a young man of twenty-four years, was also killed. Mr. Massipost and a son of eight years escaped to New Ulm.[38]:141

The daughter of Mr. Schwandt, enceinte [pregnant], was cut open, as was learned afterward, the child taken alive from the mother, and nailed to a tree. The son of Mr. Schwandt, aged thirteen years, who had been beaten by the Indians, until dead, as was supposed, was present, and saw the entire tragedy. He saw the child taken alive from the body of his sister, Mrs. Waltz, and nailed to a tree in the yard. It struggled some time after the nails were driven through it! This occurred in the forenoon of Monday, 18th of August, 1862.[38]:300–301

S.P. Yeomans, editor of the Sioux City Register, circa May 30, 1863, wrote of the aftermath when the defeated Dakota were shipped to their new homes.[39]

The formerly favorite steamer, Florence,” he wrote, “arrived at our levee on Tuesday; but instead of the cheerful faces of Capt. Throckmorten and Clerk Gorman we saw those of strangers; and instead of her usual lading of merchandise for our merchants, she was crowded from stem to stern, and from hold to hurricane deck with old squaws and papooses — about 1,400 in all — the non combative remnants of the Santee Sioux of Minnesota, en route to their new home….[40]

The Dakota have kept alive their own accounts of events suffered by their people.[41][42]